Someone commented on my mini-rant that the words “itch” and “impact” are not verbs. The reader seemed to suggest that the appearance of these words in “a dictionary” as verbs is a viable argument for them being accepted that way. My reply:
There are many words in “the dictionary” that are not words. You cannot use the fact that hundreds of thousands of people use a word incorrectly as evidence that they are using it correctly. This is a tautology. It is tantamount to saying, “There are hundreds of thousands of murders each year, so we should just accept murder as law.”
Yes, impact likely appears in dictionaries as a verb today. (It didn’t always.) And using it as a verb only displays to those of us with a respect for language and law that a person has a limited vocabulary. One last thing: An itch is a thing. To scratch an itch is to do something. To itch an itch makes no sense. Again, it just shows that the person saying it has a very poor vocabulary (or, alternatively, is extremely lazy … splitting hairs, I know …). It is true that there are a slew of words which are appropriately nouns and verbs. Hammer is a good example. You hammer a nail with a hammer. A knock is another good one. When you knock on a door you are producing a knock. Itch and scratch are not the same, though. You cannot itch an itch. A person saying that sounds about as intelligent as a person saying, “I’m hungry. Let’s go food,” or, “Can you car me to the airport?” So. While I have to admit that you are correct – itch and impact appear in the dictionary as verbs – the point of the entry on which you commented is that no self-respecting writer (or speaker) of English would use them as such.
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